Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Who’s my worst critic? Me!

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Good morning! It’s a rainy Sunday here in Georgia.

So, who’s my worst critic? As I write, I edit. I know, that’s not supposed to be the way it works. I should write, then edit, but guess what? There’s something inside of me that as soon as a line is written if a word comes up as wrong, my brain says go back and correct.

But the worst thing is, I’ll write almost a full chapter, then turn around and erase it. Then a little way down the road into the manuscript, I wish I hadn’t done that. Even though it doesn’t work in that spot doesn’t mean it won’t in another. Of course by the time I figure that out, well, it’s gone.

The moment I type ‘The End’ is when the worst critic in me starts. Even a couple of my bestsellers still haunt me. I think of a line I used and how I could make it better. My editor constantly tells me to stop overthinking. But it’s like a bad habit that I can’t break. One of my books pulled at me so hard that I almost took it completely down, but since it gets a great response, I held back. (That didn’t stop me from printing the manuscript and going back over it.)

If a line bothers me, I’ll write it over and over, which takes valuable time out of my writing. Then I’ll break down and just go with it, which is what I need to start doing. Since my brain stays in autocorrect mode, this is hard to do. But, I’m learning to push that mode off.

So, are you the worst critic you have?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

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What’s in a character?

Good Tuesday morning!

So, how do you form your characters? Do you develop them as the story goes forward? Or do you write a character sketch before putting the first word into the manuscript? In Scrivener, I always start out with a blank page for each character. Of course, I know basically who my character is. When I start a new manuscript, I develop their main character sketch, but what is included?

Name – Oh, this can take hours for me. I play with first and last name combinations. It’s crazy, but as a writer, I know that when the right combination comes across, it will pop. So, I scan name lists, Scrivener’s name generator, and even newspapers. Sometimes things just stand out.

Flaws – Ok, so maybe your main characters don’t have flaws, but I try to make mine less than perfect. Of course, my first books had perfect characters, but I want my readers to relate to my characters, so I add flaws. It could be as simple as having an attitude, but I make it a flaw at the time.

Looks – Does my character have blonde hair and blue eyes? That’s something important because you don’t want to suddenly say something about their auburn hair halfway through. You need to know what they look like or at least have an idea so that it stays consistent throughout the book.

Career – What does your character do? Are they a lawyer, doctor or maybe a rodeo king? It’s important to know this so that you can add elements of what they do to your character.

Hobbies – This is not as important as other attributes, but if it’s going to play a role in the book, then you need to remember if they knit or oil paint. Changing it midway can confuse the reader at times.

You may be saying, but why are these important? Every writer is different in how they do their work. For me, I like to get to know my characters. As I write, I like to know what my character might say or do and why. In Scrivener, I always have a character note that details things and I can add to it as things happen. Believe me, it helps to keep the process going forward.

So, how do you create your characters?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Words on a page…

Good Saturday morning! I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving. Mine was wonderful. Now the Christmas season is officially in full swing, which excites me. This is my favorite time of year.

As for words, sometimes as a writer, the words are slow to come. It’s the dreaded ‘writer’s block’ that every writer fears. That happened this month with my Christmas book that’s being released in a very, very short time. The words were there, then I developed a horrible cold, needing medication which made my head go fuzzy. Well, the words came to a halt.

I sat with my fingers hovered over the keyboard, trying to form the story that was inside my head. I could see it, hear the characters screaming, but for some reason, the words wouldn’t come out of my fingers onto the screen. It can get frustrating when you’re up against a deadline and the words just seem to be within reach, but won’t come.

But then, as I lay awake, coughing like a crazy person, it all flowed in like a wave of a storm. The areas that I was unsure of, came rushing in. That’s when another problem reared its ugly head, I couldn’t type fast enough and my time became limited, with holiday preparations and life. But now, it’s on the page and almost ready for release day. Some stories come in like a lion, then others hold back, waiting until just the right moment to stream in.

The funny thing is, if I’d rushed the story, it wouldn’t be what it is. This story is such a sweet story and I know that taking the time to listen to my characters and taking a short break helped build the story.

As always, great writing and May God Bless You…Hideaway Lane Cover


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Perfect grammar… LOL!

Good Tuesday morning! This morning I have a wee bit of a rant. And you know I don’t rant often, but this morning I have to get this off my chest, so get ready and here we go…

As a writer we’re supposed to have perfect grammar, right? Well, I need to ask something. Do you always speak with perfect grammar? I read an article last week about your characters needing to have normal conversations and don’t make it too formal, but then writing 101 says to make sure you use perfect grammar. We don’t always in normal conversation talk in perfect grammar, so what are we supposed to do as writers?

So, I’m going rebel. What does that mean? Well, it means that I’m going to write my dialogue like I talk, which may make editors cringe, but I want my readers to enjoy the work I publish. I’ve had comments on previous work stating that it was too formal and normal people don’t talk like that, so I am going rogue…

Also, to further give my rant a purpose, I’ve read several books by famous, best-selling authors that use normal talk and they do well. Some are even horrible in the grammar department, but they are best sellers and the readers don’t seem to mind at all.

Now, with all of that said, I don’t mean using the wrong form of a word or wrong punctuation. I’m talking about in the dialogue between my characters, so don’t think I’m putting up my English 101 book.

Of course, this will make my editor happy.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 


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Friday writing…..

Good morning everyone! It’s Friday and I’m feeling ready for the weekend.  I know, I’ve been out of pocket for a little bit, but I’m back in the saddle. With several projects on the horizon, I’ve been focusing on those.

Speaking of juggling projects, as a writer, I’m constantly striving to better myself and my writing by taking courses, reading everything I can about it and checking out other author’s style of writing. It’s just the way I roll. So, in several articles lately, I’ve read that the first thing I need to do is write, then write some more. Everything stated that hitting a word count every day was important, so that’s what I’ve been working on. The only thing is since I run a busy accounting office, that leaves little time to blog or promote on social media like I need to.

I’ve always talked about my writing planner. It keeps me on track. But, for the last couple of years, I’ve pushed myself too hard and inflicted high daily word counts on my brain. Well, in one of the articles, it said to get real with yourself. It has actually helped me. I grabbed a new planner at the store and rewrote out my plan of attack. I’ve lowered my daily word count and it’s amazing the amount of work I’m able to do. This is my first week with the new counts, but I’m already seeing a huge difference. Even though my word count is lower, I can write more if I have time, but I’m not pushed into doing too much and putting myself in a bind.

So, are you pushing too hard? Try the lower word count requirement and see if you’re not more productive without the added pressure. It’s helped me.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…words


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Friday! Friday! Friday!

Good Friday morning! We made it folks, it’s Friday… Take a breath and know that the weekend is only hours away.

For me, I’m looking forward to some writing this weekend. Plus, my 30-year class reunion is tomorrow evening. Wow, have I been out of school for 30 years? I’m getting old…. Nah!

The final edits for Breakwater Lane are coming in today, which makes me smile. It’s hard to believe that it’s almost out. This morning I’m getting my word count in on Promises Forgotten. At the moment I’m deep in Indians and 1800’s Montana. I love being a writer. I can get lost in another world, if for a moment.

So, what are you planning this weekend?

As always, great writing and May God Bless You…

 


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Creating a new series…

wishful harbor design

The birth of a new series is always fun and exciting, but scary all at the same time. Will it hold together for the number of books planned? Will the characters stay interesting or just lose interest?

With Wishful Harbor, I’ve thought of this for a while, a long while. I’ve had this series in my mind, but it wasn’t until I sat down and started mapping it out that I realized that it could work. And when I say mapped it out, I truly mean I drew a map of the town of Wishful Harbor. I placed each place that would take part in the series and put it in the front of the series notebook for reference.

There will be five books, each one can stand alone or work together. I’ve written a synopsis for each book, even named the main characters.

But, will it hold the test of five books?

The way that I’ve assured this is that each book can stand alone. That’s how I know it will hold together. Each story has its own world held within the little town of Wishful Harbor. Although there will be repeat characters, and there will be repeat locations, the main story and characters will lead the story. That’s what makes it work in this instance.

Keep looking out for the cover reveal for the first book in the series, ‘Breakwater Lane’. I’ll be doing a huge reveal blog and have some exciting things to give away. There will be a more definite date soon, but let’s just say, it’s coming soon…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…